Monday 23 February 2015

My New Best Friend.. Spreadsheets!

Since I've been co-blogging with Stacie, there's been a handful of things that I've changed concerning how I blog and how organised I am - fair enough, I was always a little ahead with reviews and discussions, and by little, I mean around a month in advance, with maybe some holes left open for specific reviews or themed days, it was an easy way to operate. I blogged alone, I had my own space and with that space came the freedom to, well, do whatever the heck I liked, and while the freedom to post what I want and when I want hasn't changed all that much, was has changed is how organised I am.. mainly because, I now have to be.

In case you've been living under a rock the last few months, Stacie and I take it in turns to post on most occasions, we have set days in the week that we post specific things, and then we have the freedom to post anything we like, reviews, discussions, our menu for the week, whatever might appeal to us on any given day, as long as it's on our days, and I love that we do this. This organisation is key to how we - okay, I operate. I have a system, I have a routine, and it's fabulous, so it's only predictable that if I enjoyed keeping my blogging plans organised, I'd like to try and organise my books too, and I don't just mean by author on my shelves, I mean like organise the heck out dem books in spreadsheets, inspired by Debby.

I think I may have taken my organisation to another level.. a level I didn't think was possible.
Naturally, I wanted to share my crazy with you all, so buckle in ladies and gents, this is the method behind the madness.

I currently have 7 separate spreadsheets

  • Books Read
  • Physical Copies
  • Digital Copies
  • Review Copies
  • Books Bought
  • Book Wishlist
  • 2015 Releases
Uh, yeah, seven.
What can I say? I'm organised. Lets dig a little deeper into them shall we?

Quick Note*: all print screens were taken on 25/01/2015 and 26/01/2015. I've edited/added plenty more books since.

Books Read

I decided that while I wanted to be and feel organised, I didn't want it to seem like a tedious job filling in the information on a regular basis. I wanted to keep track of the books I read with information I find important, not what others may prefer. In the end, I decided that the vital information was, obviously, vital, including the book title, the author(s) and the series, followed by things I wanted to keep track of in order to ease locating the information at the end of the year, for example, what exactly I rated every book (as last year, I used Goodreads to help with recapping and they still lack pesky half stars), whether I reviewed them, what genre and classification they were, what format they were and how I acquired them. Out of all the information I could possibly want or need at the end of the year, this is that, and any more would just be over-kill for me personally.

*I have since added a #UKYA column to keep track of UKYA reads.

I also like to keep my 'reviewed' column colour coded so I know at what stage I am in the reviewing process. The basic colour codes are of course green for yes and red for no, but I also include other colours for other stages: blue for books I'm in the process of reading, yellow for books I've read and am going to or am planning on reviewing, and purple for books that I don't plan to review for one reason or another. I mainly keep this column colour coded so I can know for certain whether I actually reviewed a book or if I've forgotten to write one, in which case, I panic a little bit and get on it.

Physical Copies

This spreadsheet keeps the basic set up that 'Books Read' has, which a few alterations, aka, a culling of my reviewed and source column, a) because I don't need to know whether I've reviewed the books on my physical list, I just need to know what's there and whether I've read them or not and b) because I own them physically, so I don't need to know the source, the answer is in the question. Colours still play a vital role in this spreadsheet, with the usual green for yes or red for no concerning whether I've read them or not, as well as yellow for books I've put-down but not completely abandoned in the future, and purple for books I've DNF'd.

I also have a few filters set for this page, such as a 'to-read' option which searches for all books labelled as no for read, the most comomn and well used of filters, a 'contemporary' option which searches for unread contemporary options for when I'm feeling fluffy, a 'fantasy' option, which searches for all types of unread fantasy, including options that mix with other genres, like historical, paranormal or mythology, and I final option of unread other genres, which includes anything from mystery to dystopian.

Digital Copies

Once again, the set up is similar when it comes to my digital copies, however, this spreadsheet is minus the format column, since it's clear that they're digital books, as, yet again, the answer is in the question. My digital copies also have the exact same colour coding involved that my physical copies to, so really, the only thing that's different about the two is that the format of them. I could easily have mixed them all, but I didn't particularly want to be in the mood for one of my kindle books and then remember that I've got to read it on my laptop - some nights don't call for eye strain.

Review Copies

This spreadsheet is a little more difficult to explain and definitely caters to my own mental madness. The basics are still involved, the title, author(s), series, read, rating, and genre. I haven't bothered with the classification because I very rarely request or read advanced copies of anything other than young adult, and in contrast to the other spreadsheets, I've included the release date and the archive date, which also gets used as 'date in which your NetGalley download expires' and 'date by which publishers request review copies to be reviewed'. The spreadsheet is also organised by release date, just to make searching and viewing that much easier.

Understanding the spreadsheet is another issue entirely. The actual sheet is split into three sections. The first section between the headers and the first black split are the review copies with no archive date or expected review date, which means I'm not limited to when I can read them, and are therefore, not as high a priority as the other books in the spreadsheet. The second, smaller section between the two black splits are the books I have in my Adobe Digital Editions Reader and are therefore on a clicking tock. Standardly, you get 54 days to read the books by once downloaded, so these books are some of the first I see when I log into my spreadsheet, therefore making me more likely to read them. The third and lower section of this spreadsheet includes books I haven't downloaded yet, but have archive dates, and therefore have to be considered soon.

Colours are still very much the same with this spreadsheet too, with the usual green and red for yes and no, blue for reading, yellow for put-down and purple for 'nope, bye!' Okay, for DNF, but I've been tempted to put that in place of.

Yeah, this one is very much catered to be understand by me, that's why it's very.. hap-hazard.

Books Bought

This spreadsheet came about when I decided I wanted to cut back on the books I bought, and when I did buy books, I wanted to record the fact that I'd bought it and it'd not been gifted, (which is always a problem I have when inputting information into reviews), remember how much they'd cost me (considering I'm unemployed and don't get a lot of income), and just how many of the books I'd bought this year, I'd read. the set up is once again the same, with the the title, author(s), series, read, rating, genre, classification and format, but it, of course, includes a price column, which keeps a record of how much they cost - duh. Colours continue to stay the same throughout, much like those for 'review copies', 'digital copies' and 'physical copies', with the usual red, greens, yellows, blues and purples.

Book Wishlist

So far, this is probably the least developed of the spreadsheets, but generally, I like to keep a hold of a list of books that I'm constantly eyeing up, whether that be because I've enjoyed other installments, heard good things, or generally keep meaning to pick it up. I plan to use it more as the year progresses, adding in books that could be future presents on occasions, or books I'd really like the purchase myself if possible. Generally, the same set up is used, the usual title, authors, series and in this case, book number if it's part of a series and what genre it's in. What follows are two very different columns.

First, a 'need' column, which takes note of the level in which I feel I want the book. There are four levels in total, Must Have, which is bright red, Really Want, which is a darker red, Would Like, which is for those books I'd like, but would either rather not buy, or in some cases, not buy top dollar for, in a slightly browned colour, and Consider in orange, which is for books I've either not read other installments for, or books I'm still wavering on. Secondly and lastly, my status column, which does and will keep track of the books in a more physical way, in three different shades of blue, purchased being in the example, in a dark navy blue, Christmas and Birthday presents bought in advance in a slightly paler, baby blue colour, and other gifted books in a very very light blue, much like cloudy blue.

Most books in this spreadsheet will be physical back-listed titles, and so any other information isn't really needed.

2015 Releases

The final spreadsheet helps me keep track of 2015 releases, specifically, those that catch my attention on more than a fleeting interest level. These can very from finales of series to new standalones, to some really exciting titles I'm looking forward to. As you can see, the set up is extremely similar to that of the 'book wishlist' spreadsheet, however, this time, as is expected, I've got a release date column, pretty vital for when you want to keep up with new releases. The colour codes are identical to the 'book wishlist' in that I have a rating in need column, all coded by priority, and I have a status column, also, colour coded exactly the same. I also have a column that lets me know if I've read those books, but it's not a column that is of much importance, it's more there for peace of mind.

How do you organise and keep track of your books?

Do you keep lists, spreadsheets like me, or do you wing it and hope for the best? Organise or spontaneous?


  1. I actually have a few spreadsheets myself, not that different to yours. I've got one for review copies, physical and digital separate because a get a fair amount of both. I've got one for release dates, one for my challenges so I can keep track of what I want to read for certain ones, and I've got a reading list one so I can put them into order of ones I would like to read first and so on.

    However I think what I find helps me the most is my word document, BBB schedule. It's basically January to December, broken up into the weeks of the month and next to the date I'll write what you have planned or what I have planned, its much easier for me to put my ideas down for posts and fit in book reviews, it's also a lot easier to change reviews or posts around instead of looking through our drafts. I update it once a week for what you have planned and whenever I write a review I note it down where it will go. So yeah, that’s what keep me organised. (I also have a folder on my computer jut for the blog , it has multiple folders in it for different things, reviews, discussion and so on and they have folders too on what’s done and not..and there’s my physical diary schedule too but I don't use that as much any more only for when I'm out and about)

    you have always been crazy organised anyway but you like you said you've taken it to the next level this year lol. I was never really on track of everything on my old bog and would wing it most of the time but I because we split the days I had to get my act into gear and really change that. I don't think your silly or anything for having as many spreadsheets as you do, because you don't have a kindle and you download your e-ARCS to your computer to read and have a limit time to read them it's vital for you to keep an eye on what you've got, when it needs to be in by and who it's far. You've given me some ideas about how I should organise my spreadsheets too :P

    Great post hun :)

    1. I think the fact that we're so organised means that BBB works pretty darn well, it's simple, it's planned out, it works and that's great. Don't feel pressured by me though, what works for us separately seems to work for us both, it'll be fine :)

  2. Okay. WOW. You are so organized. I can't even wrap my head around it. I may also be a little envious of your organizing skills right now. Me? Spontaneous all the way. My files and documents and books are all over the place and I just go with the flow, and somehow figure stuff out. I guess being organized has a lot of perks, but I just don't have it in me to stick to such a schedule. Oh well, maybe I'll get better over time.

    You definitely do have some good ideas up your sleeves!

    1. If it works for you though Naban, then stick with it! I think when you get started, it does help, I have so many more since this post went out, ways to keep track at the end of the year, it's very exciting! Thank you though! :)

  3. I've actually been considering doing spreadsheets for a while now. It's just the effort involved that outs me off. Like I want to do the books read and books I own ones definitely, I already have one for my review copies. But I own so many books, I've literally lost track of the number but I know it's probably about 700. How do I put them all in a spreadsheet? It would take FOREVER!!!

    BUT LOOK HOW PRETTY AND ORGANISED IT ALL LOOKS!?!?! Damn... well I am kinda itching to do spreadsheets now, haha. I am starting to become a bit more organised, thank god.

    1. Oh I so understand, it took me well over 3 days to input everything into these sheets, and I mean three whole days, no reading, nothing else, I was looking at my shelves, goodreads, paper lists, it was horrible, but now? I love it, I appreciate every moment it took because it's lovely!

      I don't mind helping you organise them if you want. Not sure how, but I'm sure I could :)

  4. I LOOOVE this. I am a loser who is obsessed with creeping on everyone's organizational methods. These look great! I have a similar setup with mine, but need to better organize things. I also want to try to keep track of books I own. I'm bad with that haha

    1. Aww Lauren, I'm sure yours is great too, whatever works for you is what's best! I think once you get some time together and make a note of it all, it'll be so worth it, promise you! :)

  5. I admire the amount of effort you took to create all the spreadsheets! It's amazing <3

    For me, I can't hope to be this organized. I'm a very "go with the flow" kind and it's a lot easier for me. When I need to find all books that need reviewing, I check my goodreads shelf of the same name :)

    1. I used to be very go with the flow though, and it does work, I lived for Goodreads organisation, but now, I can't imagine how I would track everything I want to with just Goodreads, especially for the end of the year and what to read. Thank you though Nova! :)

  6. Woah Amanda you are freaking amazing and so organised for having several spreadsheets! I tried to start a spreadsheet once for my ARCs but it didn't really go anywhere, I like making lists sometimes on Google Docs but I mainly keep track with Goodreads. Messy, I know.

    1. Jeann, if it works for you, why change it eh? Do what makes you most comfortable, but thanks! :)

  7. HOLY you are my inspiration, Amanda! Honestly, I'm horrible with spreadsheets. I try, I really do, but I always forget about them. I need to get one for all the releases this year though because I cannot, for the life of me, keep track of anything with my brain anymore!

    1. Aww Jess!<3 I think with a few hours, it could be handy, but it's what works for you!


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